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Health and the Wall: Human Rights and Art

Health and the Wall: Human Rights and Art

Launch of a joint Palestinian-Israeli-French campaign on the health impact of the Wall

Three health organizations, one French, one Israeli and one Palestinian have decided to speak out on the health impact of the Wall in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The three organizations, Médecins du Monde-France , Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, who have worked together as partners for many years, will present a common position paper at two press conferences :

The first will take place in Tel Aviv on Monday 14 February 2005, at 10 am at Beit Sokolov, 4 Kaplan Street, and the second in Ramallah on Tuesday 15 February 2005 at 10 am at Best Eastern hotel, Al-Ersal Street, Birzeit road. The presidents of each organization, Dr Françoise Jeanson, Dr Ruchama Marton and Mr. Younis Al Khatib will present the joint position paper and will answer questions at both events. Médecins du Monde France will also issue a report entitled “ The ultimate barrier. Impact of the Wall on the Palestinian healthcare system”.

The organizations have also worked together with 14 leading Palestinian and Israeli artists to produce a booklet of artwork on the subject. The curators for this project are Mr. Miki Kratsman and Mr. Amer Derbas. The art presents the artists’ _expression of how they view the Wall. It also contains information and facts on its impact on health. The artworks will be on display at the events. The curators and some of the artists will also be present.

Facts:

• 622 Kilometers is the full length of the planned Wall- twice the length of the green line. 255 kilometers have already been completed or they are in the process of being put up. 85% of the planned Wall encroaches into the West Bank Territories.

• 93,200 Palestinians live in areas between the Wall and the Green line.

• 32.7% of the West Bank villages will suffer from lack of access to health system in each region once the Wall is completed. This number will rise to 80.7% in the enclaves.

• 10,000 chronic patients suffer from lack of access to essential health services. 117,600 pregnant women, out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies, may suffer from the lack of access. 133,000 children under the age of 5 may not be able to get all vaccination necessary on time or at all.

• 26 local clinics have already been cut off from the general Palestinian health system. Upon completion of the Wall, the number of isolated clinics will rise to 71, out of over 500 local clinics throughout the West Bank. 52% of the doctors working in these clinics are delayed on their way to work, or they aren’t able to reach work at all due to the Wall.

The organizations will raise the following issues amongst others: impact of the Wall on the access to health services in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, impact on functioning of Primary health care centers, impact on vulnerable populations (children, pregnant women, chronically ill), the enclaves, and public health and the physical and socio-economic consequences of the construction of the Wall.

On 17 February the organizations will be publishing art works done by the Israeli and Palestinian artists on the Wall in the Tel Aviv newspaper “Ha’Ir” and in the Palestinian paper “Al-Quds”, along with information pertaining to the health impact of the Wall

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